Macbeth Literary Terms

Act A subdivision of a play
Scene A subdivision of an act of a play
Allusion a figure of speech that makes a reference or representation of or to a well-known person, place, event, literary work, or work of art.
Antagonist The principal character in opposition to the protagonist or hero of a narrative or drama.
aside a line spoken by an actor to the audience but not intended for others on the stage
Assonance the repetition of similar vowels in the stressed syllables of successive words
Atmosphere a particular environment or surrounding influence
conflict opposition in a work of drama or fiction between characters or forces (especially an opposition that motivates the development of the plot)
connotation an idea that is implied or suggested
consonance the repetition of consonants (or consonant patterns) especially at the ends of words
denotation the most direct or specific meaning of a word or expression
dialogue a literary composition in the form of a conversation between two people
diction A writer’s choice or words, phrases, sentence structures, and figurative language, which combine to help create meaning.
epiphany a sudden realization; the “ah-ha!” moment
Flat Character NOT given depth.
round Character given depth
foil a character who acts as a contrasts to another character
foreshadowing hints to what will happen later in the plot
grave trap a trapdoor located at the front/center of a stage
groundlings playgoers who stood in the pit
imagery words or phrases that creates a picture or image in the mind or appeal to the senses of the reader
irony the use of words to create a meaning opposite to the literal meaning
lazzi short comedic scene-either seperate from or a part of a longer performance. It generally involves the Zanni and is often used to refocus the audience.
metaphor comparing two things using is or was
simile comparing two things using like or as
monologue a speech made by a single actor
mood emotional atmosphere of the story
personification the act of attributing human characteristics to abstract ideas
playwright person who writes plays
plot chain of events that creates the story
props movable objects used on the set of a play
protagonist the hero. the main character
script a written version of a play or other dramatic composition
set the background on the stage
setting The time and place of a story
soliloquy a (usually long) dramatic speech intended to give the illusion of unspoken reflections
spectacle an elaborate and remarkable display on a lavish scale
stage the platform that the actors act on
stage direction an instruction written as part of the script of a play
suspense excited anticipation of an approaching climax
suspension of disbelief a willingness to suspend one’s critical faculties and believe the unbelievable; sacrifice of realism and logic for the sake of enjoyment
symbol something visible that by association or convention represents something else that is invisible
tension a balance between and interplay of opposing elements or tendencies (especially in art or literature)
theme a broad idea in a story, or a message or lesson conveyed by a work
tiring house dressing room, provided actors a variety of entries to the stage: windows, balconies, and two or more large doors.
tone the quality of something (an act or a piece of writing) that reveals the attitudes and presuppositions of the author
universality literature that has meaning to people from different time periods

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